XXXTentacion’s Manager and Producer Talk SoundCloud Reissues and the Long-Delayed Documentary

The late rapper XXXTentacion left behind a complicated legacy after he was murdered during a robbery in June of 2018 — dozens of platinum or gold-certified and influential songs amid charges of domestic abuse and violence. A pioneer in the SoundCloud emo-rap genre, nearly four years after his death, the Florida rapper’s earliest songs on the platform are finally seeing official release via Columbia beginning today (Jan. 28) with the song “Vice City,” which he originally uploaded in March of 2014. It marked XXXTentacion’s first released song, which was followed by many that he created and produced from his Florida home.

It also appears that a long-delayed documentary on the rapper, first announced in June of 2019, may finally be seeing the light of day.

While there is no set schedule for the individual tracks’ release on streaming platforms — beyond each song becoming available to once the rights have been cleared — a website, www.makeouthill.com, and a Twitter account (@makeouthill) will offer updates, music and information.

In a statement released earlier this week, Columbia announced the reissue campaign — and gave a small status update on a long-delayed documentary.

“We will continue to release music as we clear it, and are making sure we do it in a way that stays true to how X released each song originally,” the statement reads in part. “Beyond the music, we know X’s fans have been waiting patiently for the documentary and we will be sharing updates on it soon.” (Later material previously released through Caroline Records or Bad Vibes Forever/ Empire Distribution is not included in the Columbia deal.)

“It’s important that people get to know and understand the origins of Jahseh [Onfroy, XXXTentacion’s real name],” says his longtime manager, Solomon Sobande. “People don’t know the early songs that built his rabid fanbase. In the scheme of things, there’s only a small number of people digging around SoundCloud for cool underground music. It’s important for his legacy for people to understand what he was making at a young age that ultimately connected to so many people. Those songs still feel relevant, and we want them available in the widest way possible.”

Columbia inked a deal with the rapper’s estate — which overseen by his mother, Cleo Bernard, and Sobande, along with his producer John Cunningham — in 2021; Ron Perry, inked XXXTentacion to a publishing deal at his SONGS Music before becoming the label’s CEO. “Ron Perry was a huge supporter of Jahseh during his life,” Sobande says. “He gave Jah his first publishing deal, so it was important to give Ron a chance to extend that legacy. We just wanted to make sure that this legacy was delivered in a way that was true to Jahseh in as original a format as possible.”

The project brings Cunningham, the executive producer behind XXXTentacion’s albums, full circle.

“I was interning for SONGS in 2017 when Ron Perry was president,” he says. “I had shown XXX’s material to Ron first, and he asked me to A&R the project. I didn’t know what that meant at the time,” he laughs, “but yeah, I wanted to do it.

“XXX came into NightBird Recording Studios [in Los Angeles],” he continues, “saw that I played guitar, started singing and that was it. There was no spoken agreement between us — just that he had all of these sounds and words in his head and a longtime desire to get it all out. He just didn’t have anyone to help him extract it.”

Picking up the thread, Sobande says, “He had many of these songs written already, some during his time in jail. He always had huge ideas; it was just about connecting him with creatives like John [Cunningham] to get those ideas out. There’s an interview where XXX said, ‘I want to be everything to my fans — I don’t want them to go to any other artist.’ That’s why he blended all those [musical] genres — he knew that genre lines would blur in the future.”

Of course, that attitude carried over to his strikingly vulnerable lyrics as well. “In 2017 and 2018, there weren’t many artists talking about their depression and mental health,” Cunningham says.

Sobande adds, “Fans connected with him because XXX expressed his feelings of being an outcast, of feeling alone and misunderstood. He gave a voice to the voiceless.”

Whether other material will be released by Columbia in the future is yet to be determined. “Our main focus right now is to rebuild Jah’s legacy from the beginning with these SoundCloud tracks, and getting them onto all [streaming services],” says Sobande. “That said, we love Ron and we love Columbia, and if the idea presented itself to do something in the future, we’d be happy to do it.”

Finally, the still-unnamed documentary, which was originally announced in June of 2019, will combine biographical data and live footage of the rapper, along with previously uncirculated material. It has been the subject of many rumors and misinformation — to the extent that web searches reveal an almost comical number of posts with variations on “Is the XXXTentacion documentuary coming out in 2019/ 2020/ 2021 on Netflix/ YouTube” etc.

Sources tell Variety that it will finally see release through a top streaming networks before the fall. Columbia declined comment.

“Let’s keep it chill here, Solomon — lock it tight,” Cunningham jokes when asked for details about the documentary.

“One thing I can say is that it is one of the best music documentaries I’ve seen,” Sobande says, “and I am a music documentary junkie.”

 

 

 

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